Jay Jaffe FanGraphs Chat – 6/23/20

2:05
Avatar Jay Jaffe: Good afternoon, folks, and welcome to the latest Cape Cod-based edition of my weekly chat. We’re still awaiting word on the go-ahead for the wee 2020 season, and while i remain cautiously optimistic, I also know that Tony Clark and Rob Manfred are as likely to bury salad forks in each others’ eyes as to shake hands on anything.

2:06
Avatar Jay Jaffe: While the universal DH is expected to be part of this year’s agreement, it doesn’t yet appear to be a done deal for next year, as had been previously proposed. Nonetheless, I have a new piece today noodling on some DH candidates for NL teams https://blogs.fangraphs.com/a-look-at-some-nl-designated-hitter-candid…

2:06
Scott: What impact do you think the universal DH will have on the trade market?

2:08
Avatar Jay Jaffe: It wouldn’t surprise me to see some contending AL teams make moves to shore up their DH spots if their current plans go pear shaped, but until we know about a trade deadline, I’m not sure we can expect much.

2:08
Pitch_Out: Remember way back when we were talking about hosting all MLB games in CA, AZ, FL, and possibly TEX? Seems like that would have been a bad call with the way COVID is rampant in those states in particular right now.

2:09
Avatar Jay Jaffe: Very much so. It’s an utter catastrophe what’s going on in those states, driven by irresponsible politicians.

2:09
David: MLB is considering staring extra innings with a runner on second. Do you think that will end extra inning games sooner? it seems to me that its very likely that teams would play for one run and the game would go longer.

2:10
Avatar Jay Jaffe: if i understand it, that was part of some of the proposals that were changing hands in recent weeks but not in the March 26 agreement, so I’m hopeful that particular wrinkle doesn’t come to pass. It’s an idea that should be killed with fire.

2:11
Avatar Jay Jaffe: But yes, I think based on what I’ve seen in the World Baseball Classic — and here I’m talking anecdotally, because I don’t have any data to support this — that it leads to a lot of one-run strategic stupidity

2:11
AA: Critical question:  What book were you holding in your “Long Gone Summer” segments?

2:13
Avatar Jay Jaffe: That was a copy of the Baseball Prospectus 2012 book Extra Innings, wherein I wrote a fair bit about PEDs and the Hall of Fame — I was giving myself a refresher course on a few points on the subway ride (the discussions of which ended up on the doc’s cutting room floor), and they suggested I hold the book in the shot. Never thought it would generate so much comment; if it had, I’d have made sure to hold a copy of The Cooperstown Casebook!

2:13
Big Joe Mufferaw: How do you think Rockies lifers should be looked at by the HOF? Yes, they have inflated numbers at home, but we have learned that their road stats are harmed, and many seem to avg out after leaving coors. But oWAR while playing for the rockies is hurt a great deal?

2:15
Avatar Jay Jaffe: Aside from Todd Helton, whom I profiled in my annual series, there isn’t another Rockies lifer to think about in a Hall context, particularly given the possibility that they eventually trade Arenado. I think the adjustments built into WAR do an adequate job of putting players’ performances in perspective and would recommend using those as a guideline rather than getting too attached to the raw counting and rate stats that can be driven sky high by Coors Field.

2:16
Doug: You mentioned the Mets as a team with a lot of DH candidates, such that they would need to sort that situation out; could an argument be made, though, that the DH gives them some flexibility for giving playing time to some guys who might otherwise have been relegated to the bench more than they would have liked? Regardless of whether they have a single ideal DH candidate, doesn’t this probably help with what was being referred to as a logjam coming into the season? Thanks for your service.

2:20
Avatar Jay Jaffe: In that there are more plate appearances to go around, yes, this is a fortunate development for the Mets. However, they may not have a competent left fielder on the roster, or if they do and go with a Cespedes-Nimmo-Conforto alignment (probably their best option), then they still have a lot of players (Smith, Davis, Lowrie) competing for that slice of DH time. McNeil in left and Lowrie at third puts Yo in the DH mix… it may be a nice problem for Rojas to have, or it could be a headache.

2:20
Adam: Will there be any MILB games this year? I’d have to think not right?

2:21
Avatar Jay Jaffe: Doesn’t sound like it’s happening, and it’s tough even to believe that there will be an expanded Arizona Fall League given the situation in AZ.

2:23
WinTwins0410: Jay, I know the traditional stats on David Cone (194 wins, 3.46 ERA) aren’t off the charts (high strikeout total though).  Three questions on Cone: 1) Why do you think he fared so poorly the only time he was on the HoF ballot?  (I realize that I may have answered my own question); 2) What’s your view of Cone’s suitability for the Hall, particularly in light of his 62.3 WAR; and 3) How likely is it that Cone winds up on the Today’s Game small committee at some point, particularly given Jack Morris’ induction?

2:29
Avatar Jay Jaffe: With just 2898.2 career innings, Cone actually had a short career by Hall standards, and the fact that he missed both 200 wins and 3,000 strikeouts made it easy for voters to bypass him. Among post WWII starters, only Koufax, Pedro, Halladay and Bob Lemon have fewer than 3,000 innings and are enshrined, and Cone, while a very, very good pitcher, is better only than Lemon among that bunch. He’s 64th in JAWS, down about 9 points relative to the standard, and about one win per year off the pace relative to the peak standard. His postseason credentials add a bit of extra credit but while I can see him getting placement on the Today’s Game ballot at some point, I don’t see him getting over the hump.

2:31
Brad: Cases are up,but hospitalizations are down in FL, AZ and TX.  When I want your political insight, I will look for you on MSNBC.  Would you like to discuss Cuomo sending Covid positive patients to nursing homes?

2:35
Avatar Jay Jaffe: The case totals aren’t just up in those states, they’re off the freakin’ charts. And yes, Cuomo had some pretty bad missteps in New York, missteps which have been well-documented.

If you don’t want my occasional political insights, well, you presumably know how to close a browser window or to mute or unfollow me on social media. I’m not going to stick to sports just to suit your delicate sensibilities, nor am I going to tiptoe around politics if they encroach upon the sport that I cover professionally.

2:36
$/WAR still too damn high!: Besides maybe some good timing with the 2010-2014 deadball period, what made Jorge De La Rosa so relatively successful with the Rockies?

2:41
Avatar Jay Jaffe: Jorge DLR had some good strikeout and groundball rates at times during his Rockies tenure, though rarely both over the same full season, and often encroached upon by his high walk rates. Still one of the most successful pitchers to wear a Rockies uniform for a good long stretch.

2:41
Mike Ortman: Weird seeing Utley, Kinsler, and Pedroia all fall short of HOF qualifications.  Cano was busted for PEDs so that’s on him.  But that’s a decade plus of second basemen that don’t make the cut.  Different position, but how does it look in your opinion for Votto, Goldschmidt, and Freeman?

2:45
Avatar Jay Jaffe: Utley fares very well in JAWS, much better than the other two (11th, compared to 18th for Pedroia and 20th for Kinsler) but it’s quite possible all three wind up outside of Cooperstown. The era’s representation will probably fall to Altuve, if he keep chugging along, and no, I don’t think the Astros’ misdeeds or the various half-baked theories about his ALCS-winning homer are going to have much impact 15 years from now or whenever he hits the ballot. As for the first basemen, I like Votto’s chances, don’t yet see strong enough peaks for the other two, though time is still on their sides.

2:46
Mark W: Speaking of the Hall…. Doc Adams going in this year?

2:47
Avatar Jay Jaffe: It all depends how willing the committee members are to do their homework. I’d like to think he has a chance, but he’s going to need some real history buffs in that room in order to get over the top.

2:48
Mike Ortman: How about HOF caliber managers?  I know you’ve written about it somewhere…..I’m looking at the landscape and thinking Bochy, Francona, Leyland, and maybe Maddon depending on how he does in Anaheim.

2:51
Avatar Jay Jaffe: Bochy is a lock, and Francona quite likely as well — both have multiple championships. Leyland, Piniella and Baker are all in kind of a cluster, with the first two having one championship and Baker still looking for his first (man, wouldn’t it be weird if he won this year with the Astros???). Maddon’s high-profile win with the Cubs and success on a shoestring in Tampa may put him ahead of those guys in some respects, but he needs some longevity and yes, some success in Anaheim.

2:51
Jim Piascik: I’m a baseball guy, but found myself in a basketball deep dive developing a JAWS-like stat. I can’t seem to find why JAWS uses a 7-year peak versus a different length (I feel like it’s in the Casebook, but I loaned it to my brother) and wanted know as I thought about peaks in different sports. Thanks!

2:53
Avatar Jay Jaffe: It wasn’t a hard-scientific conclusion but when I noodled around with it 15 or so years ago using BP WARP, seven years turned out to be a sweet spot in terms of explaining why some short-career guys were enshrined, and I’ve stuck with the formula even as it’s changed currencies (to bWAR). I think it’s entirely possible that someone applying it to NBA or another sport might settle on a different number for peak.

2:53
GSon: Some of the greatest in radio/media history are deserving of a spot in the HOF.. Vin Scully is an obvious shoe in.. but, what about Herb Score, Tom Hamilton, Marty Brenneman, Michael Kay, Jerry Remy, others?.. Perhaps there is a story involving this subject here…?

2:56
Avatar Jay Jaffe: Broadcasters have not traditionally been considered for full election to the Hall. Instead, they have the Frick Award (Scully and Brenneman have already won) given for their career accomplishments, just as writers have the Spink Award, where folks like Peter Gammons, Jayson Stark, Claire Smith, and Roger Angell have been recognized.

2:56
Kiermaier’s Piercing Green Eyes: Initial class for a mascot HOF?

2:57
Avatar Jay Jaffe: The (San Diego) Chicken and Youppi would be first in my book, though my daughter would like to make sure that both Mr. and Mrs. Met and the Phillie Phanatic are recognized as well.

2:57
Blue-Collar Tweeker: Is starting the season really just posturing to try to save some face?  I just can’t see even a full shortened season getting played.

2:59
Avatar Jay Jaffe: I wouldn’t call it posturing so much as an overly optimistic and perhaps way too risky attempt to salvage something amid this ongoing shitstorm. It certainly would have been a more noble experiment had the owners and players not spent the past couple of months bickering  — though as I’ve noted before, I do think far more of this is on the owners and Manfred than the players.

3:00
David: this years newcomers on the hall of fame ballot seem really weak. will any of them get the 5% needed to stay on the ballot?

3:01
Avatar Jay Jaffe: From among the top newcomers (Tim HudsonMark BuehrleTorii HunterDan HarenBarry ZitoAramis Ramirez)  I don’t expect any to get 5%, nor do I think any of them deserve to. https://blogs.fangraphs.com/big-battles-looming-the-next-five-years-of…

3:02
Travis: I’ve heard people discounting what an MVP win for 2020 would mean, but shouldn’t it count more? In the face of: brevity/not as much time to settle into a groove, uncertain health (just staying healthy all year should get some kind of participation trophy), labor unrest, and the general stress of the year – id think that an MVP by Trout or anyone means as much as a full season, given context.

3:03
Avatar Jay Jaffe: Being the best over a small sample isn’t a greater accomplishment than being the best over a larger sample, but that’s not to say whoever wins it won’t be deserving. We’ll just have to keep in mind the context of the accomplishment.

3:03
Big Joe Mufferaw: Is Manfried making a case for worst Commish ever?

3:05
Avatar Jay Jaffe: You (and I) might find him distasteful, but Peter Ueberroth steered the owners into $280 million worth of collusion penalties and didn’t do such a great job in handling the game’s cocaine problem. Bowie Kuhn was a clown who managed to find himself on the wrong side of just about every significant issue that crossed his path, but I don’t think he did as much damage as Ueberroth.

3:05
Big Joe Mufferaw: If a player played 4 years, and put up all 10+ WAR seasons and retired to go play another sport or something. Could he be voted in the HOF?

3:07
Avatar Jay Jaffe: Whoops didn’t mean to answer two in a row from the same person. While the Hall board might grant a waiver for to make a player who has appeared in nine seasons eligible if, for some reason, something prevented him from playing his 10th (as was the case with Addie Joss, who died of meningitis), I can’t see them doing anything for a player who spent only four years in the bigs and then bailed.

3:07
Bob: Of these ex Yankees. Who has the best chance to make the Hall of Fame, Mattingly, Munson,  Randolph, Guidry or Pettitte?

3:10
Avatar Jay Jaffe: For my money, it’s Munson, who’s eighth in peak score among catchers (above the standard) and 12th in JAWS (a bit short, because he died at age 32). Some people feel strongly about Mattingly but I don’t see much to write home about; he hasn’t fared well in front of the voters, either BBWAA or committee. I don’t see Randolph or Guidry ever getting much traction, and while Pettitte’s postseason accomplishments give him a lift, he was more workhorse than thoroughbred, and not everybody will forgive and forget his appearance in the Mitchell Report.

3:10
Adam: Are we sticking with the six traditional divisions for 2020? I haven’t seen it explicitly but it seems assumed

3:11
Avatar Jay Jaffe: So far as I know, that’s still the current plan, though there were some thought balloons that floated by offering other ideas in recent months

3:11
$/WAR still too damn high!: Are the Pirates underrated somehow? Bell, Frazier, Newman, Tucker, Hayes, and Gonzalez is a really good infield group, Reynolds is cool, Musgrove is cool…OK maybe just they have some talent

3:15
Avatar Jay Jaffe: They have some interesting guys, prospects as well as young players, but we had them projected for 71 wins over the course of 162 back in March, and a whole lot would have to go right for them to be .500 over the course of a full season. I think their future is brighter than their present.

3:15
Hall of fame fan: Who do you think is the next unanimous hall of famer? it kind of bothers me that the only unanimous hall of famer is a reliever even if hes the best reliever of all time

3:16
Avatar Jay Jaffe: As noted in that five-year outlook piece above, Ichiro is probably the next guy who has a shot, but not until the 2025 ballot.

3:16
GSon: With what you know now.. is there a defined statement of the agreement between the Owners and MLBPA.. a.) universal DH, b.) roster size(s), c.) Q.O. for 2021 e.d. will the indians not receive a draft pick/compensation as a guy like Francisco Lindor arrives at free agency after the 2021 season?.

3:19
Avatar Jay Jaffe: I believe the DH and roster size stuff is in the health and safety protocols dealybob that the players have to approve, but I haven’t actually seen it myself. I don’t expect there to be there any change to the QO system before the next CBA; there was a chance to tweak it during the negotiations but that all went to hell once they broke down.

3:19
Soundwave: It seems a team like the Rays, who operate on roster churn and utilizing players as controllable assets, would possibly never have a player go into the Hall with a TB on their hat. Can you see that as a detriment to fostering long term fandom?

3:19
Avatar Jay Jaffe: I don’t think it helps, that’s for sure.

3:23
Ricky F: To me, there were 7 teams drawing near-dead for a playoff spot under the 162 game schedule. Orioles Mariners Tigers Marlins Pirates Giants Royals. Which do you think has the best shot under the 60-game schedule?

3:23
Avatar Jay Jaffe: Well, going by Dan Szymborski’s 50-game ZiPS projections, it looks like the Pirates and Marlins were the clear leaders of this particularly ignominious pack. So maybe $/WAR was onto something above.  https://blogs.fangraphs.com/one-giant-tournament-might-be-better-than-…

3:24
David: I read in a 538 article that the 95 World Series had higher ratings than the 93 World Series and that 1997 was the 3rd best attended season in baseball history up to that point. Based on that is the idea that the 98 homer run chase saving baseball just a myth?

3:24
Avatar Jay Jaffe: I think the idea that the 1998 home run chase saved baseball itself is overstated. However, I do think that it stimulated some people to come back to baseball and brought in some new fans at a time when the game dearly needed it.

3:25
Mike Ortman: Speaking of HOF plaques, which one’s are your favorites?

3:27
Avatar Jay Jaffe: I love the wink at Eddie Gaedel on Bill Veeck’s plaque (“A champion of the little guy), and always get moved seeing the plaque of Jackie Robinson, but seeing “my guys” — the players for whom I advocated, the likes of Raines, Martinez, Blyleven, Santo, Trammell, and Edgar Martinez, with Walker and Simmons still pending  — really does move me. I got choked up when I saw the aforementioned when visiting the Hall in February.

3:27
Baseball Fan: I am so conflicted on being so giddy.

3:28
Avatar Jay Jaffe: Yeah, I wouldn’t say I’m giddy about the return of baseball given everything else going on. I am hopeful, though, and that’s better than nothing.

3:29
Avatar Jay Jaffe: Ok folks, it’s time for me to head out as I have a phone interview awaiting. Stay safe and keep those fingers crossed that we get a commitment to some 2020 baseball by the time I return next week.

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Brooklyn-based Jay Jaffe is a senior writer for FanGraphs, the author of The Cooperstown Casebook (Thomas Dunne Books, 2017) and the creator of the JAWS (Jaffe WAR Score) metric for Hall of Fame analysis. He founded the Futility Infielder website (2001), was a columnist for Baseball Prospectus (2005-2012) and a contributing writer for Sports Illustrated (2012-2018). He has been a recurring guest on MLB Network and a member of the BBWAA since 2011. Follow him on Twitter @jay_jaffe.

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Some friends and I had a discussion last week about the make equivalent of “Karen”… “Brad” won. Congrats to Brad on proving us right: “Brad: Cases are up,but hospitalizations are down in FL, AZ and TX. When I want your political insight, I will look for you on MSNBC. Would you like to discuss Cuomo sending Covid positive patients to nursing homes?” Nice job, snowflake.